These recommendations derive from collaborations between key statewide bodies which govern or direct these activities, referencing the Florida Statutes, and the Florida Homeschool Association (FLHSA), Florida's Home Education Foundation (HEF) and state funding organization, Step Up for Students. You are invited to follow our website, articles, newsletters and events, for future updates or changes to this procedure as implementation begins, for any potential changes that occur over time.
Personalized Education Program Scholarships, or PEP scholarships, were introduced by the Florida legislature in the spring of 2023.
PEP scholarships are funded from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and eligible students receive an educational savings account that parents can use to fund educational materials and/or services for their student.
PEP programs are not the same thing as existing Florida home education. PEP students have a different set of requirements for eligibility than home education students, namely: home education students notify/report to the school superintendent in the county in which they reside, whereas PEP students apply/report to the scholarship funding organization that directs the funds of the educational savings account.
Though PEP programs and home education programs may look similar from the outside, in terms of notification/application and annual reporting, they are legally different.
In this article, we review who needs a Notice of Intent, and who does not. Please review this information carefully to determine if your home education family requires a change to your Notice of Intent status due to the introduction of the new PEP program.
How to apply/notify for each option
For PEP: PEP students apply for the scholarship on the website of a state funding organization, such as Step Up for Students. The eligibility requirements and procedures for filing a PEP application are listed on the website of each funding organization that offers a PEP scholarship.
For Home Educators: Home education students use the Notice of Intent to establish a home education program. These families are unaffected by the new legislation and follow the notification procedures established for home education which have been in place for many years (read THIS). Unless a home education family decides to apply for a PEP scholarship (described below) this new legislation does not impact existing home education families at all.
Unless a home education family decides to use the PEP scholarship program, the new legislation does not impact existing home educators at all.
Can home education students apply for a PEP? How?
Yes, home education students may apply for PEP scholarships. If a student is already enrolled in a home education program using the Notice of Intent, and is later approved to receive a PEP scholarship, the student will need to be terminated from home education (using the Notice of Termination) so that the student can become a PEP student instead.
We do not recommend terminating a home education student until receiving affirmative notification that the PEP application has been fully approved. Families should continue using the Notice of Intent as normal, until the PEP has been confirmed. At that time, they should file the Notice of Termination only for the student receiving the PEP scholarship. Following these steps will avoid challenges that may arise by prematurely terminating a student if the PEP application is denied.
Do not file a notice of termination until receiving affirmative notification that the PEP application has been fully approved.
I'm a new home education family. Should I file a Notice of Intent or apply for a PEP?
All new home education students (who have attained the age of 6 by February 1 of a school year) require a Notice of Intent to begin home education program. However, certain families may also wish to apply for a PEP to see if it is approved first.
Parents who aren't sure whether they will use home education or the PEP scholarship should apply for the scholarship first, as soon as the application opens. If the scholarship is denied, the family should then immediately file a Notice of Intent to homeschool, as late as mid-September.
Following this sequence will insure the student has the opportunity to first receive the PEP, but if denied, can remain in compliance with the Florida home education laws which require a Notice of Intent. The Notice of Intent can be filed by mid-September of an academic year, so that these students can begin a home education program in Florida if they are denied the PEP scholarship. (Students at this stage could also be enrolled in any other public or private school program, if home education is not really the option they were hoping for.)
New families applying for the PEP scholarship should wait to file the Notice of Intent until learning whether the PEP application was approved. If the PEP scholarship is denied, they should file a Notice of Intent, as late as mid-September.
Please note this advice only applies to families wishing to use the PEP scholarship program. Families not interested in the PEP should file the Notice of Intent as normal.
Review the Steps
Not interested in applying for a PEP? File a Notice of Intent as normal, and disregard any information about the PEP program.
Interested in applying for a PEP? Wait until receiving PEP approval/denial before determining whether a notice of intent is needed.